Brian Burns – Carolina Panthers DE
Brian Burns matched his superhero celebration with a superhero type of season, especially when it comes to harassing opposing quarterbacks. The defensive end has been consistent prior to 2022, registering no less than 7.5 sacks in any campaign since coming out of Florida State.
Fans and the Carolina Panthers had high hopes for the edge rusher coming into the campaign. The pass rusher did not disappoint.
Burns spun his webs to the tune of 63 tackles – 17 of which went for a loss – 12.5 sacks, 22 quarterback hits, three passes defended, and one forced fumble. Like his teammate Jaycee Horn, the former first-round selection also solidified his tackling efficiency this season, reaching a career-best 6.0 percent missed tackle rate with four.
Despite reaching career bests in practically every major statistical category, Burns graded out as the 65th-best edge defender with Pro Football Focus at 64.5. His run defense was the weight that pulled his overall number down, as he was awarded a 50.9 mark in that specific situation.
There’s room for improvement, no doubt. But the Panthers also know his most valuable skill is rushing the passer.
Also, some context is needed in terms of defensive snaps played when looking at his overall grade.
Burns played a whopping 951 defensive snaps in 2022. Out of all edge defenders who played a minimum of 900 snaps, he ranked as the No. 7 highest-graded player.
PFF grades are a wonderful tool to get a look at integrated statistics and how they can be measured, they just need to be viewed from a clear perspective. Burns is an example of this and is thoroughly deserving of every cent coming his way this offseason.